Title:
Sealing System for Suspended Ceilings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A seal for a suspension ceiling. The seal has a bottom leg is for attaching to a flange of a ceiling beam and top leg for engaging a ceiling panel and compressing between the ceiling panel and the bottom leg. The top leg is resiliently biased away from the bottom leg to form a V-shape when the seal is in an uncompressed state. The top leg of the seal may have one or more slits, cuts, or weakened areas that separate a plurality of segments of the top leg.



Inventors:
Burns, Steven A. (Lombard, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/165244
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
06/30/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B9/34
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070209292Corner lift deviceSeptember, 2007Broyan
20070186505METHOD FOR INSTALLING A ROOFING SYSTEMAugust, 2007Hubbard et al.
20090282750Kitty blockerNovember, 2009Arnold
20040055234Reinforced concrete column or bridge pierMarch, 2004Mutsuyoshi
20050193648Security screening systemSeptember, 2005Klein et al.
20040255547Method of forming a tiled floorDecember, 2004Flowers
20090301023Process for the Production of Reinforced and Cast, Cellular or Foamed Concrete Bodies and Reinforcement Support Frame for the Use in Such a ProcessDecember, 2009Heerens et al.
20050217191I-joist web hole insertOctober, 2005Davis
20050166493Alarm plug for a vinyl windowAugust, 2005Martin
20010047628Relocatable fire, storm and contaminant resistant modular building structuresDecember, 2001Mouton et al.
20070180790Shear connector using perforated and/or cut out plateAugust, 2007Lee



Primary Examiner:
HERRING, BRENT W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Erickson Law Group, PC (WHEATON, IL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A seal for a suspension ceiling comprising: a bottom leg for attaching a ceiling beam; a top leg for engaging a ceiling panel and compressing between the ceiling panel and the bottom leg; the top leg is connected to the bottom leg; and the top leg is compressible against the bottom leg.

2. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg is resiliently biased away from the bottom leg.

3. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg comprises one or more slits that separate a plurality of segments of the top leg.

4. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg comprises one or more slits for separating a plurality of segments; the slits also for allowing an intersecting ceiling beam to lay substantially flush on an intersected beam that has said seal.

5. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg comprises one or more slits that separate a plurality of segments of the top leg; said slits being at substantially regular intervals along a length of the top leg.

6. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg comprises one or more slits that separate a plurality of segments of the top leg; and wherein the segments have a longitudinal length of about 6 inches (15.24 centimeters); wherein the seal has a transverse width of about 0.5 inches (1.27 centimeters).

7. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg comprises one or more weakened areas that separate a plurality of segments of the top leg.

8. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg and the bottom leg are connected to form a V-shape when the seal is in an uncompressed state.

9. The seal of claim 1, wherein a bottom surface of the bottom leg comprises an adhesive layer.

10. The seal of claim 1, comprising a protruding end portion for extending into a flange area of an intersecting ceiling beam at a place of intersection between more than one ceiling beams.

11. The seal of claim 10, wherein the protruding end portion extends longitudinally for a distance of about at least 0.13 inches (0.34 centimeters)

12. The seal of claim 1 comprising an end portion; the top leg has a connected edge and a nonconnected edge; the bottom leg has a connected edge and a nonconnected edge; the connected edge of the bottom leg connects to the connected edge of the top leg; the seal extends in a longitudinal direction along the nonconnected edge; and the end portion comprises a portion of the seal wherein the nonconnected edge of the top leg extends farther in the longitudinal direction than the connected edge of the top leg.

13. The seal of claim 1, wherein the bottom leg attaches to a horizontal flange of a ceiling beam, and the top leg connects along a connection edge to a corresponding connection edge of the bottom leg; the top leg resiliently biased away from the bottom leg and compressible toward the bottom leg by a ceiling panel, thereby creating an air-tight seal between the flange and the ceiling panel when the ceiling panel is placed on the seal.

14. The seal of claim 1, wherein the top leg is also for engaging a wall when compressed between a wall and the bottom leg, wherein the bottom leg is attached to a ceiling beam.

15. The seal of claim 1, wherein the seal comprises a silicone or rubber based material that is pre-sized or customizable to fit a particular application.

16. A method of sealing the intersection between a ceiling beam and a ceiling panel of a suspension ceiling, comprising the steps of: attaching a bottom leg of a seal to a horizontal flange of a ceiling panel; repeating the attaching for each flange that will support a given ceiling panel; and placing the ceiling panel on the supporting horizontal flanges thereby compressing a top leg of the seal against the bottom leg of the seal.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of attaching is further defined in that the bottom leg of the seal is attached so that the top leg of the seal extends upward and toward a vertical web of the ceiling beam.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of attaching is further defined in that the bottom leg of the seal is attached so that the top leg of the seal extends upward and away from a vertical web of the ceiling beam.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/937,503, filed Jun. 28, 2007.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to suspended ceilings. Particularly, the invention relates to sealing systems for sealing between panels of the suspended ceiling.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Suspended ceilings that are used extensively in building construction include a grid of intersecting beams forming a frame suspended by wires from a permanent structural ceiling. The frame supports ceiling panels or ceiling tiles which are simply supported on the frame substantially within grid openings of the frame.

The beams are generally formed of rolled steel and formed into an inverted T-shape or L-shape. The panels are supported on the flanges of the T or L-shaped beams, with the hanging wires anchored above into the structural ceiling, and connected below to holes in the webs of the beams.

The panels and the upper side of the flanges of the beams on which the ceiling panels rest have relatively smooth surfaces that form a seal sufficient in effectiveness for most ceiling installations.

However, in some situations, the seal between the beams and the individual ceiling panels must be sufficiently tight to prevent air and/or dust and/or germs passing between the ceiling panels and the beams. Particularly, an enhanced sealing system for suspended ceilings is useful for clean rooms, operating rooms, hospital rooms, rooms for sensitive manufacturing operations, and rooms where the atmosphere is desired to be contained, such as for indoor swimming pool areas.

There have been various attempts to form such tight sealing systems for suspended ceilings. Foam strips have been adhesively secured to the upper sides of the beam flanges for sealing against the ceiling panels.

According to another method a flexible tape is used along the edges of the lower surface of the ceiling panels to seal against the frame.

Still another method used to seal suspended ceiling panels against the frame has been to create a U-shaped edge around the flanges with soft plastic fins extending downward, as shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,967,530 and 5,033,247.

Yet another method used to seal suspended ceilings comprises the use of a resilient flap that is biased to extend upward and outward from the upper surface of the flange of the beam at each side of the beam web to form a seal by pressing upwards against the underside of the ceiling panel as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,701,686.

The present inventor recognizes that the need exists for a suspended ceiling panel grid system having a sealing effectiveness that is easily installed and is able to easily accommodate the intersection of ceiling beams of the grid system during installation without losing the sealing effectiveness, and which is cost-effectively manufactured.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a sealing system for a suspended ceiling that is cost-effectively installed and provides an effective sealing between the ceiling panels and the support grid of the suspended ceiling.

The present invention provides strips of sealing material that are compressed between grid beam flanges and ceiling panels to create a sealing system therebetween.

The present invention provides a strip of sealing material that, in the preferred embodiment, has a V-shaped cross-section, and is hinged on the top surface of the flange, has a bottom leg that lays flat and is stuck with adhesive on a top surface of the flange, and a top leg that presses against the bottom of the ceiling panel when installed. The V-shaped cross-section is compressed by the weight of the ceiling panel and the top leg and the bottom leg are flattened together.

The present invention provides strips of sealing material that can be supplied in rolls or in strip stocks of stock length, and can be easily cut to length to fit ceiling beams.

The present invention provides segmented strips of material providing versatility to the placement arrangement of strips.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention provides sealing strips that are segmented by being weakened or cut along lines at regular intervals.

The present invention provides segmented strips that, according to the preferred embodiment, are cut-to-length to fit the ceiling main beams.

The present invention provides segmented strips that according to the preferred embodiment allow for the intersection of the ceilings main beams with perpendicular ceiling tee beams and also allow for the intersection of the ceiling tee beams with perpendicular secondary tee beams

The present invention provides a strip of sealing material that has protrusions on ends thereof which when installed overlap an adjacent sealing strip that is perpendicular in elongation and enhances the sealing effectiveness at these points of intersection.

The present invention provides strips of material that have protrusions on the ends which, according to the preferred embodiment, are pre-sized in length to fit the ceilings tee beams and also the secondary tee beams.

The present invention provides strips of material that, according to the preferred embodiment, may be pre-sized to fit the ceiling tee beams and also the secondary tee beams and can be segmented for accommodating obstructions.

Numerous other advantages and features of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention and the embodiments thereof, and from the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a bottom perspective view of a suspended ceiling;

FIG. 2 is a top, right side, front perspective view of a strip of sealing material;

FIG. 3 is a top, right side, front perspective view of a strip of sealing material attached to the flange of a suspended ceiling beam;

FIG. 4 is a right side view of FIG. 3 showing an inverted T-shaped ceiling beam, one side with a ceiling panel resting-in place on the sealing strip and the other side without a ceiling panel;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the intersection of main and secondary ceiling beams equipped with sealing strips;

FIG. 6 is a top, front, right side perspective view of the intersection of main and secondary ceiling beams with sealing strips applied;

FIG. 6A is a top, front, right side perspective view of the intersection of a secondary ceiling beam and L-shaped wall-ceiling corner beam with sealing strips applied;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of the ceiling beam structure of a suspended ceiling; and

FIG. 8 is an end view of an L-shaped wall-ceiling corner beam.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there are shown in the drawings, and will be described herein in detail, specific embodiments thereof with the understanding that the present disclosure to be considered as the exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated.

FIG. 1 illustrates the structure of a suspended ceiling 10. The suspended ceiling 10 incorporates main ceiling beams 11 running wall-to-wall in one direction, with tee beams 12 intersecting the main ceiling beams perpendicularly and extending wall-to-wall in the transverse direction. Secondary tee beams 12a run perpendicularly between tee beams 12.

According to the present description, “main,” “tee,” and “secondary tee” ceiling beams refer to the location of the beams and are explained in FIG. 7. In constructing the grid or frame, the main beams tend to be longer and more continuous, whereas the tee beams are shorter and are connected to the main beams at pre-defined positions depending on the size of the ceiling panels, and the secondary tee beams are connected to the tee beams and also vary in size according to ceiling tile size.

At each wall, an L-shaped wall-ceiling corner beam 13 is used. Ceiling panels 14 are supported on a horizontal leg 13a of the ceiling beam 13 which is supported by the adjacent wall using fasteners, The main ceiling beams 11 are supported by suspension wires 15 hung from the permanent ceiling 15a.

FIG. 2 shows the sealing strip 16 of the present invention. According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the sealing strips 16 described herein are composed of a silicone or rubber based material. The sealing strip 16 includes a top leg 16a and a bottom leg 16b. The top leg 16a is segmented by lines 17 forming segments 17a having a length L and a width W. The lines 17 can be through cuts or slits, or weakened through the thickness of the top leg 16a, such as by the use of partial cuts or perforations.

FIG. 3 shows the sealing strip from FIG. 2 mounted on a flange 18 of an L-shaped wall-ceiling corner beam 13. The flange 18 extends from a web 19 of the L-shaped ceiling beam 13. A protrusion 20, such as a hemp edge or rolled edge, extends along a length of the flange 18 and functions to stiffen the flange 18 and helps to prevent the sealing strip 16 from being displaced off the flange 18, particularly if the strip 16 is being installed in the field. The sealing strip 16 is adhesively secured to a top surface of the flange 18 by a layer of adhesive 18a

The sealing strip 16 for the wall angle 13 has a width W of about 0.75 inch and is segmented with the lines 17 spaced apart at increments L being about 1 inch. At this spacing, the lines 17 will align with the standard connection points for tees and main beams on the wall angle beam 13. Also, when the wall angle beam 13 is installed, the intersecting tee beams 12 will hold down two segments of the seal 16 thereon, keeping the seal 16 in place. The segmentation of the sealing strip 16 allows the intersecting tee beams 12 to lay flush on wall angle beam 13 or any other intersecting beam.

FIG. 4 shows a main ceiling beam 11, which includes a web 21 and a flange 22 forming an inverted T-shape. One panel 14 is shown supported on a sealing strip 16. The sealing strip 16 is compressed by the weight of the panel 14 with top leg 16a pressed against bottom leg 16b. Two sealing strips 16 are adhesively secured to a top surface of the flange 22 by a layer of adhesive 22a.

According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the sealing strip 16 for the main beam has a width W of about 0.5 inch and is segmented with the lines 17 spaced apart at increments L being about 6 inches. At this spacing, the lines 17 will align with the standard connection points on a main beam for the connection of tee beams.

The cross section of tee beams 12 and secondary tee beams 12a, including details of the sealing strips are substantially identical to the cross section of the main beam 11 shown in FIG. 4. FIG. 5 illustrates a main ceiling beam 11 intersecting a tee ceiling beam 12. Protruding, tapered end portions 23 are arranged on each end of a secondary beam sealing strip 24. The protruding end portions 23 are shaped and sized to overlap the sealing strip 16 on the main beam 11 by a distance P of about 5/16 inches to ensure a more effective seal at the intersection. The secondary sealing strip 24 is mounted to the tee ceiling beam 12 in the same way as the strip 16 is mounted to the main ceiling beam 11 (FIG. 4).

All sealing strips 16, 24 that end at an intersection between two beams can have a protruding end portion 23 to create this overlap, such as whenever a main beam 11 intersects a wall angle beam 13; a tee beam 12 intersects a main beam 11 or angle beam 13; or a secondary tee beam 12a intersects a main beam 11, a tee beam 12 or an angle beam 13.

According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the sealing strip 24 for the tee beam 12 is identical to the sealing strip 16 for the main beam and has a width W of about 0.5 inch and is segmented with the lines 17 spaced apart at increments L being about 6 inches. At this spacing, the lines 17 will align with the standard connection points on a main beam for the connection of tee beams.

FIG. 6 shows the action of the segmentation lines 17 at the intersection of two beams 11, 12. At the intersection, the web 21 of the tee beam 12 is attached to the web 21 of the main beam 11. In order to accommodate the pass through of the web 21, the sealing strip 16 can be split at a line 17 to allow the web 21 to pass through the sealing strip 16 to be connected to the beam 11. The upper leg of the strips 16, 24 for main beams and tee beams are segmented. The lower leg of the strips 16, 24 need not be segmented.

Secondary tee beams 12 have sealing strips 16 adhesively secured to upper sides of flanges of the secondary tee beams in the same manner as the sealing strips 16 are secured to the main beams 11 (FIG. 4). The upper leg 16a of the strips 16 for secondary tee beams is not required to be segmented but can be segmented to allow for accommodating other obstructions.

FIG. 6A shows the action of the segmentation lines 17 at the intersection of two beams 12, 13. At the intersection, the flange 22 of the tee beam 12 is set on the flange 18 of the beam 13, particularly on the sealing strip 16 that is carried by the flange 18. In order to accommodate the flange 22, the sealing strip 16 is pre-cut on lines 17 that straddle the flange 22 and allow the flange 22 to set down onto folded flat segments 17a present on the flange 18 without pressing down the adjacent segments 17a of the upper leg 16a of the strip 16 on opposite sides of the flange 22. The upper leg 16a of the strips 16 for corner beams 13 is thus preferably segmented along its length at slits 17. The lower legs 16b of the strip 16 for corner beams 13 need not be segmented. The strip 24 is shown discontinued to show the flange 22 setting on the flange 18. In practice the strip 24 would continue along the flange 22 until abutting the web 19.

FIG. 7 shows two major, main ceiling beams 11, 11 extending a certain length, typically 12 feet. Tee beams 12, 12, 12 intersect and connect the main beams 11, 11 perpendicularly, and are typically 4 feet long. Secondary tee beams 12a, 12a intersect and connect the tee beams 12, 12, 12 perpendicularly, and are typically 2 feet long.

FIG. 8 shows an L-shaped wall-ceiling corner beam 13 being installed against a wall 40 with a sealing strip 16 adhesively secured on the outside of the web 19 to form an airtight seal with the wall when fasteners 42 are tightened into the wall. The sealing strip 16 here need not be segmented and the width W is preferably about 0.5 inch.

From the foregoing, it will be observed that numerous variations and modifications may be effected without departing the spirit and scope of the invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific apparatus illustrated herein is intended or should be inferred.